As I type this it is four and a half days since the election of now President elect Barack Obama in an election with reportedly one of the highest percentages of people voting than any election in recent history (if not all U.S. history). With a margin that some will even consider a mandate if not a landslide, it is time for the Democrats to finally end one of their sillier recent traditions.
I'm talking about the blaming of Ralph Nader and the Green Party for Al Gore losing the 2000 election (in fact, the election was stolen). Since this unfortunate event (and the eight years of hell we've faced as a result), it has become a habit for the Democrats to claim if Nader hadn't ran then Gore would've won in 2000 (even though Gore not even winning his home state could be a sign of things otherwise). Some have even gone so far as to sue to keep Green party candidates off the ballot in elections since then (does this seem a little anti-American to you?). Absent from this is the fact that one, Gore largely cost himself an election he might've won if he'd fought harder. Two, Bush and his cronies did everything they could to steal the election (and may have even stolen the one in 2004 as well). While the specifics can be considered conjecture, this election should put that to rest.
With Obama set to enter the White House in January and the Democrats holding the majority of seats in both the House and the Senate (though at this writing it's uncertain whether they have a filibuster proof majority), it appears on the surface that times are changing. Hopefully, the Democrats will step up to the plate and act like it.
So is they shouldn't blame Nader anymore, what next? One suggestion: stop acting like you're the only game in town for anyone not into the GOP. A lot of votes this election came from independent voters; this should be kept in mind when decisions are made. Also, maybe instead of trying to keep third party candidates from running for office, how about bringing back the Fairness Doctrine both sides allowed to die during the later Reagan years and allow all the candidates time to get their messages heard (we can discuss the need for instant runoff voting on another post). Granted these are small things to consider within the big picture, but the days of everyone blindly following a two party system may be numbered and it's time the Democrats deal with it rather than blaming a messenger (which, in best case scenarios, Nader was) that the electoral process is flawed.
Will the Democrats stop blaming Nader for 2000? Probably not, but I would like to think that the current victories can help write a new chapter rather than continue the same damn mistakes. Regardless, it's up to each of us to watch politicians like a hawk and make sure we actually get some well needed change.